Oatmeal for Breakfast with all 6 Tastes

November 1st, 2008 by Robert

After our first son was born we experienced many health issues that we didn’t understand, which caused us to launch many desires for health and the understanding of health issues. We learned about Dr. Westin Price, who was a dentist that traveled the world to study primitive cultures about 70 years ago. He wrote a great book about what he learned, called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. You can follow the amazon link to the right to learn more about that book.

I read the book cover to cover and was fascinated by the pictures and stories of people in about ten different primitive cultures where he traveled. In every case the vibrancy of the people was directly correlated to the quality of the foods they ate, and the pictures are a very dramatic illustration. I’m a visual learner so I appreciated all the pictures:)

Later we were introduced to another book called Nourishing Traditions, which is a cookbook based on the lessons learned from Dr. Price and his studies. I was excited about this book and spent a couple years trying out different recipes and learning about foods I had never heard of before.  This is the book I’m referring to:

I wrote about a dozen of my favorite recipes inside the front cover with page numbers so I could refer to them often.  One thing I began cooking everyday for breakfast was some type of grain prepared like oatmeal.  I bought about eight different types of grain and tried a different one everyday for variety.  I narrowed down the list based on what the most people in our family liked to eat (and what was a better price), until I got down to rice, wheat, and oats.  Candice didn’t want the babies to have wheat because it is harder to digest, so then I had rice and oats.  For the past year or so I’ve stayed with oats because they provide more calories than rice (due to their fat content).

I learned from the Nourishing Traditions book that all seeds and grains have built in protection against deterioration (like being digested in your tummy) that is designed to preserve the nutrients until germination.  But if you soak them you can remove this “protection” just like warm, wet soil does.  So I got a hand grinder and ground about a cup of grain at night so I could soak them in water with a little apple cider vinegar (later I changed this to raw milk or whey instead) overnight before cooking them.  The hand mill I had is pictured to the right:

I later got a Nutrimill to save me about 20 minutes of grinding every night.  The result is closer to oat flour than oatmeal, but I appreciate the time savings and the cooked result looks about the same. I use the Nutrimill, as pictured on the left:

During this time Candice began a 3 year apprenticeship with Dr. Shamosh in Phoenix, AZ to learn Chinese Herbology and Indian Ayurveda.  I learned a few things from her studies, including the importance of the six tastes to digestion.  We got a poster that we put up in the kitchen which detailed the energetics of food, including many spices.  I experimented with many different spices in my oatmeal and tried to cover all the tastes, and we all enjoy it now.  It’s still a bit different everyday because I don’t measure anything, but I think that’s part of the fun:)

So here is my latest oatmeal recipe, with estimations as to how much I use of each item:

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 cups of oats
  • 2-3 cups of water
  • 1/2-1 cup raw milk
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Creme, Ghee, or Butter
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Molasses
  • 1 tsp Raw Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Ginger powder (only in the winter when it’s cold, because ginger is warming)
  • (optional) Handful of raisins

Directions:
First grind the oats and cover them with water and raw milk in a pot or bowl, and stir them up to make sure they all get wet. Cover the pot or bowl (I use a big plate for this) and let it soak overnight. When you’re ready to cook it, put it in a pot, add some more water (if needed, depending on how thick you want it), and stir to get it mixed up again. Turn on the stove to medium or medium-high heat and mix in all the other ingredients. The higher you turn the heat, the faster it will cook, but you’ll need to stir more then. Even on low you’ll need to stir every once in awhile so you don’t get uncooked clumps in the mixture. I’ve learned that I can get it cooked and ready in 15 minutes if I cook it on medium-high and stir almost constantly. If the heat is too high then you won’t be able to keep it from sticking to the bottom and burning a bit no matter how fast you stir, but if the heat is medium or lower it may take 30+ minutes to get to a good consistency (this is based on a typical electric stove in the USA, gas stoves will likely cook faster).

I know it’s done when the mixture thickens and looks more like lava than soup – the thickness will depend on the water/oats ratio – if it’s too thin you can cook it longer, if it’s too thick you can add more water. I like it best when the bubbles combine and cause the oatmeal to “burp”.  When I serve the older kids I put a little honey or maple syrup (we call maple syrup “waffle sauce”) on top, but when I feed or serve the babies I don’t add anything.

If you’re wondering about the 6 tastes, they are sweet, salty, sour, astringent, pungent, and bitter. The sweet and salty tastes are well covered in the list above, but here’s how I get the others:
Sour – Molasses
Astringent – Cinnamon
Pungent – Cardamom, Cinnamon, Nutmeg
Bitter – Cardamom

You can learn more about the importance of the six tastes to our healthy digestion (from an Ayurvedic perspective) by reading an article Candice wrote on her site at http://phxherbs4kids.com/nutrition-articles/1-our-digestive-experience-an-ayurvedic-perspective.html.

Last night we were up late and I didn’t grind any oats.  So when the kids woke us asking for food I made scrambled eggs and chocolate milk (not necessarily the best combination, but I was tired and that’s what they asked for).  Our five children (mostly the older three) ate nine eggs and asked for more but that’s all I had so I gave them some toast.  I appreciate my oatmeal:)

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12 Responses to “Oatmeal for Breakfast with all 6 Tastes”

  1. […] Rice Porridge made in a similar fashion as my oatmeal […]

  2. Sam says:

    Ok, so I have a couple questions…
    1) Does the amount of oatmeal you make feed everyone, including you and Candice? Or is it just enough for the kids?
    2) Did you ever make it with spelt? I have been using spelt flour to make muffins lately and they are a big hit.
    3) Do you still have your hand grinder? If so, if you are not using it, could I borrow it for a little while and see how grinding goes?
    4) Where do you get your grains?

  3. Robert says:

    Hi Sam,
    Here are my answers:
    1) One and a half cups is enough to fill 6 or 7 bowls. Candice doesn’t usually eat as early as the rest of us, but the kids and I share it (and there is usually some leftover in the pot for baby snacks later).
    2) I think I went through a can (88 oz) of spelt before, it’s very similar to wheat in how long it cooks and the taste of it.
    3) I think we still have the hand grinder. I’ll find it sometime during our move across town this month and save it for you.
    4) When we lived in AZ I ordered my grains from waltonfeed.com which is based in Idaho, but I’m thinking it would be good to find another source somewhere in the East since we live in NC now. We actually moved a couple 6 gallon buckets of wheat and rice with us last year, but we’re getting close to finishing that now.

  4. Tara says:

    “We got a poster that we put up in the kitchen which detailed the energetics of food, including many spices. ”

    Do you recall where you found the poster? I have been looking for one.

  5. Robert says:

    Hi Tara, thanks for asking. You can find the poster I mentioned by searching for “energetics of food” at http://www.redwingbooks.com.

  6. Tara says:

    Thank you for your quick response. I am absolutely positive I would have not found that without your help! 🙂

  7. Robert says:

    You’re welcome.

  8. Roy Wicklund says:

    I got very hungry yesterday and went surfing for a new food recipe, found this one went to the grocery store, bought the ingridients and cooked it. It tasted delicious and I’m sure to be cooking this one again.

  9. Robert says:

    I’m glad you liked it Roy. 🙂

  10. Robert says:

    I just read through this again and realized I forgot to mention that I first pour off the excess water (with any bubbles and dirt that rise to the top) in the morning before adding more.

  11. CJ says:

    Just wanted to let you know: in devolved everyday ayurveda, this recipe is sound for health, and wholesome considering the amounts and variety of nutrients (so far as the primary minerals and vitamins are concerned). However, in old ayurveda, your recipe is contradicting itself energetically, and also in direction of movement. The oats will move down like a rock thrown into water, but the vinegar fumes upward, toward the brain, no matter the amount of cooking its been put through, so long as it’s in combination with cooked oats. As well, the vinegar is being added with too much salt — but it’s too much salt for two meals, regardless of one, and regardless of the addition of vinegar. Bicarbonate and salt — you have a (estimated) total of 2tsp salt. Just these four ingredients mentioned will cause the body’s energetics to pull apart and move into organs where they’re not at home. By traditional ayurveda, there is too much of salt, which with the vinegar produces ama, and because of contradictory nature of some combinations in your recipe, the body (unless thoroughly exercised or otherwise cleansed the same day) will both create more ama (than I just mentioned) and possibly be forced to store it due to strong vitiation of lower and upper kapha and bogging of vata. Oats themselves are not very good for vata — too difficult to digest, and they’re too cool (or cold if the wrong variety). Though, if cooked properly, with spicing and some ten-twenty grains of rock salt, along with non-soured fruit (fresh raisins, dates, or many others), and maybe some ghee or simmered cream, oats are very calming to those suffering of the imbalance which is vata, especially in the mind and nadis.

    The body needs all of the tastes, but not like you’ve created. Each food contains all of the tastes, even vinegar, but only to certain degrees, and sometimes the taste goes undetected, especially when the individual tasting the food has indulged in too much food or has been too stimulated or dulled to taste well, or especially when the individual has a blockage of supraclavicular pathways, or much of the time when the individual has all of the above problems and also a lack water element (as physical water and its associated chemical elements) in the tongue and mouth and throat, and a lack of earth for the sense of smell. A person subsisting on sattva foods who eats little more than a meal and a snack a day, and does everything right, can easily taste the sweetness and pungency of vinegar.

    Try to combine foxes with bears and cats with cats; that is oatmeal with spices and vinegar only with its ilk, and keep it for purgative and other medicinal use. When you can easily fix a specific imbalance with things like vinegar, it’s easy to forget that you’re only causing another imbalance somewhere else in the body. Mild foods feed children and keep them strong and intelligent and happy, but stimulating and dulling foods (dulling as you have made the oatmeal) will cause an acute negative effect leading to the opposite acute (sometimes prolonged, as in the case of coffee abuse) effect.

    I hope I have given you some information you didn’t have before! Maybe try experimenting further by yourself. Try reading the Charak Samhita, as it’s available for free in doable translations on the internet.

  12. Robert says:

    Hi CJ,
    Thanks for your thoughtful critique. I actually stopped using vinegar a long time ago because soaking in milk made it feel better when I ate it and only tried baking soda a few times (Candice kept telling me not to make volcanoes in my food), so I’ve updated the recipe above to reflect that. I’ve also added raisins (during cooking so they plump up) a few times so I’ll add that as an optional ingredient.
    Regards,
    Robert

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